I wanted a special place to treat my wife on her birthday and what better place to explore than Henri Charpentier. The place is as much about the “wow” in looks as it is in taste. We were greeted by shocking pink carpet as we made our way to what is suppose to be the best of sweet indulgences this side of Asia. Through a set of gold double doors, there are a meticulously laid out array of beautiful cakes. Akin to those you find along the ground floor of Isetan in Tokyo, after all, that’s where this gem originated from. The glossy looking madeleines and financiers looks amazing!
The interior has an air of modern Art Deco decadence with gold up lighters, chandeliers and geometric patterned carpets. Everything is very well thought through and beautifully crafted, right down to the cutlery rests. There are a number of different seating arrangements ranging from simple tables for 2, set by the windows, a large comfortable sofa area for larger groups and a number of romantic gazebo areas hung with sheer gold curtains meant for up to 5 guests – In my option the best seats in the house and a perfect setting to enjoy what this place has to offer.
Many of their signature desserts are finished off with flambé flamboyance on a serving tray next to your table in recognition of the namesake who is honoured as the inventor of the Crepe Suzette, a flambé crepe. Hence, we just had to try it…the Crepe Suzette, the classic French crepe in a boozy orange sauce (beurre Suzette). The source of the alcoholic tangy flame was Grand Marnier from a really fancy red bottle (I spent a whole10 seconds thinking how I could kidnap the beautiful bottle!). The dish came with two slices of crepe. I once read that you add beer to make a perfect crepe as the carbonation from the yeast keeps the crepe batter tender and loose. I wonder if there was beer involved in these as they were wonderful. Unfortunately, the orange sauce didn’t add to it. The sourness from the orange liquored sauce wasn’t balanced by sweetness and I felt that there was too much alcohol flavour left in the sauce.
Next up was “The Dome”, a ball of dark chocolate with strawberry ice cream sprinkled with crushed almonds. The flamed strawberry liquor was poured majestically over the ball which melted the top to reveal the ice cream core. There were many flavours at work, bitter, sweet, sour, creamy, nutty and fresh. However, as was the case with the crepe, there seemed to be a imbalance with the alcohol, overpoweringly bitter where it soaked into the biscotti at the bottom, perhaps that’s how it was meant to be but not to my liking. Definitely not a dessert for the kids.
To conclude, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed from the experience. I wanted more. I wanted more flamboyance, more grandeur, more beautiful cakes and sweeties. I wanted dry ice, I wanted a rabbit to pop out from a hat! Maybe we should have gone in the evening where low lighting, coupled with the twinkling of fairy lights and the flame of the flambé would have been more visible (it was blue and somewhat lost in the lighting) and completed the magical touch Henri Charpentier seemed to lack. I hope it is because they are still settling into their skin in Singapore. I will certainly be back to hopefully fill this void in the next visit.
Henri Charpentier is now located in multiple locations across Singapore. Check out their website below for details.